Webster, Rudi, and Vanessa: The Three Cats Who Started it All – Weruva

Today, I'm excited to share a special story with you—the beginning of Weruva. This story is filled with love, dedication, and a commitment to making the best food for our furry family members. We're not just talking about pet food today; we're sharing our soul, a story of passion that beats in every can, pouch, cup, and bag we make! Prepare to be captivated as we share the inspiration behind our name. A name not randomly chosen but inspired by three special cats: Webster, Rudi, and Vanessa.

Their names and spirits are at the heart of Weruva, and to this day, they motivate us to make great food for pets everywhere. They also promote something near and dear to our hearts: how important rescues and adoptions are. Let's dive into this heartwarming story.

A Chance Encounter That Changed Everything

It all started on one cold November night as we were heading home late from a family birthday dinner for David. We parked the car and began walking the block to my apartment, as we were only dating and lived separately at the time. Suddenly, a baby orange kitten jumped before us and began meowing.

It was a frigid night, and there was no way I was leaving him to fend for himself on the streets of NYC. So I picked him up, wrapped him tightly in my jacket, and we snuck him into my "no pets allowed" building. He was such a well-behaved, sweet boy and so happy to be safe and warm! We decided to keep him and named him Rudi.

While we had Rudi bouncing back and forth between our separate apartments, we thought he desperately needed a playmate and found just that at a local NYC Shelter. A gray tabby, they called Webster, as he was found on Webster Ave of the Bronx; we thought he was perfect for Rudi and even loved his so-fitting name. Together, they were a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Not too long after, we were met by a sweet little girl at our local PetSmart, who was up for adoption and had spent way too much time in a cage.

We offered to foster her to give her a better chance at adoption. Her name was Vanessa, a name we hadn't changed, but we mostly called her "Peanut" because we were not going to keep her—or so we thought! We soon became "foster failures." And it was perfect timing, as we just got our very own apartment together!

Webster, Rudi, and Vanessa

Rudi, Webster, and Vanessa (pictured from left to right), the beloved rescue cats of the Forman's and the inspiration for the Weruva brand, delight in sampling an early batch of Weruva against the backdrop of their Manhattan home.

The Quest for the Perfect Meal

With three cats purring in our lives, we confronted a question many pet parents face—what's the healthiest food choice for my pets? Being health-conscious people ourselves, we wanted to extend that conscientious thinking to our new cat babies. Ensuring they get all the nutrients needed to live a happy, healthy life. So, we did a lot of research and discovered that cats are obligate carnivores. 

They have basic needs, such as meat, water, and vitamins. We opted for canned cat food since kibble is dry, mainly comprised of carbohydrates, and doesn't look like meat. We realized that cat food should be simple and made with simple ingredients.

Upon opening the first can, we thought, "Neither chicken nor lobster is this color brown. So why is it brown?". At that moment, we had uncovered a dirty little secret: much of the pet food on the market isn't up to snuff, is made with mysterious ingredients, and is loaded with unnecessary fillers.

Instead of settling and feeding our babies pet food that we didn't consider up to our (or their) standards, a fire ignited within us, we had sort of a "light bulb" moment. We set out on a quest. From that day forward, we vowed to create a pet food crafted with the same care and standards you'd want for any family member, animal or human.

Building Success from Humble Starts

During the first year of this quest, David and I built a business plan and began working hard at creating the soon-to-be best and most unique pet food on the market! When the time came to name our new pet food company, David took the names of our three rescued cats and jumbled the letters together to create "Weruva" (Pronounced Wĕ-Rōō-Vă.) And I loved it! Soon, everyone would know the name, which meant nothing but everything to us!

Armed with samples of our new products and zero sales experience, we started talking with local independent pet stores in our Manhattan neighborhood. Eventually, we landed a distribution deal in Queens, NY, and our eight original flavors were soon on shelves throughout the region. 

As time progressed, we adopted another pet, a Chihuahua mix named Baron, after a beloved childhood pet of my Grandmothers, completing the early Weruva family. Within years, we created a line of dog formulas inspired by the same driving forces of quality and a happy, healthy life, and we continued to build the Weruva brand as we know it today.

Our Guiding Philosophies: Ingredients and Processes

As true today as it was on day one, we are most proud of the top-of-the-line ingredients and transparent, simple processes that go into making each of our products. As founders who are still heavily involved in the business, we ensure all our packages aren't just filled with pet food but with promises of quality, nutrition, and a commitment to an "Awesome Happy Awesome Healthy" life!

Weruva Unifying Qualities

We embrace an honest "what you see is what you get" philosophy, rejecting the notion of feeding unidentifiable machine-shaped chunks or loaves to our pets. Instead, we proudly use only the finest, boneless, skinless cuts of meat and whole, flaked fish loins, ensuring you can recognize and appreciate the premium quality we promise on our labels. 

Our dedication extends beyond our recipes to the very places they're crafted. Each Weruva meal is prepared in our state-of-the-art facilities in Thailand. These factories are BRCGS and FDA-certified, ensuring food safety and quality.

Thailand is a world leader in producing foods for people (and, in our case, pets) around the globe. We choose to make our food in Thailand because of our close partnerships and their ability to meet our stringent manufacturing standards. 

Furthermore, we strive to be a sustainable business partner by protecting the earth's resources and the living beings that inhabit it. By diligently following best business practices and maintaining our global standard certifications, we manage each step in our supply chain with ethical and sustainable practices.

And There You Have It!

Every day, we're reminded why Weruva was originally started; it's right there in the name we say and the passion we pour into our products: It's all about pets. What began with Webster, Rudi, and Vanessa lives on today in pets worldwide. In sharing Weruva with your pets, you're feeding more than their bodies; you're feeding their souls and promoting health and longevity.

In 2024, David and Stacie Forman pose with three of seven of their beloved rescues (from left) Bijoux, Louie, and Baila, showcasing their commitment to providing for animals in need, a core value at the heart of their family-run business, Weruva.

Our journey to provide the best for our companion animals has brought us to where we are today and will continue to guide us long into the future. Today, Weruva can be found in pet food retail stores across North America and parts of Asia, through online channels like Amazon, Chewy, and Pet Circle in Australia, and online at weruva.com for direct-to-consumer shipment within the 48 contiguous US states.

As we look to the future and continue to grow, we're dedicated to upholding the standards that define Weruva: clean, simple, and wholesome nutrition for the beloved pets in your life. Trust in us to continue delivering the excellence your pet deserves meal after meal.

Weruva Expands its Feline Focus with the Acquisition of Cat Person

Weruva Expands its Feline Focus with the Acquisition of Cat Person

Weruva International Inc., a premier name in pet nutrition, is thrilled to announce the recent acquisition of Cat Person, a direct-to-consumer brand offering high-quality meal plans to cats and their...
Webster, Rudi, and Vanessa: The Three Cats Who Started it All

Webster, Rudi, and Vanessa: The Three Cats Who Started it All

Read the story of how Weruva began. A story filled with love, dedication, and a commitment to making the best food for our furry family members. Prepare to be captivated...
Weruva's Top Five Best-Selling Classic Dog Recipes

Weruva's Top Five Best-Selling Classic Dog Recipes

Striking the perfect chord between delectable taste and nutritional integrity, each recipe in the Weruva Classic Dog lineup is a testament to our commitment to premium quality. Focused on delivering...